Monthly Archives: February 2013

Who is in your kitchen?

My husband has decided he wants to be in the kitchen. He made this decision a couple of years ago and it is wonderful! He enjoys the creative outlet of cooking and his new hobby means we buy more kitchen gadgets (I love it and certainly sur le table, williams sonoma, Macy’s and the Dollar store have all benefited.)

Last night his sister and our brother in law came to dinner. Joe cooked. I did not do a thing! Wonderful–adn soooooo delicious.

Our daughter cooks–encouraged her into the ktichen when she wanted to.

Our son liked to putter in the kitchen too–he called himself the McGyver of food, putting together odd combinations when he was not pleased by what I was serving for supper.

Last year our duaghter gave her Dad a cooking class (for the three of us) at Sur Le Table for his 65th.

What am I advocating? Encourage yoru family into the kitchen–to watch, to try out combinations themselves. Cooking is a creative outlet. It’s fun and sociable–an acitivty to share.




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So much to tell you!

Children need to be flexible in today’s world–okay, all of us need this. There is no better way to teach it than the arts. More on this later. Arts instruction for adults is a good way to expand our thinking processes too! One of my favorite “teachers”  of writing is poet, writer, speaker, Alice Osborn. I’m participating in her blog hop today–check it out!


So, Moms and Dads

What happens when you encourage your child to read, to love words, to respect the use of words, to play with them? Possibly they will publish poetry.

My first piece of commercially accepted writing was a poem (at age 14). Today, one of my poems, “Meeting Waves” comes out in an online journal–many other poems, articles, plays, short stories and books since that first poem—but poetry is still my first word-play love.

Review and Results

Sometimes we need to take a minute to review our accomplishments and plan for the future. Over the past three days I have been impressed with the realization of how short my time is here on earth. I haven’t written a blockbuster. Haven’t won bigtime awards.

Have been able to send my work into homes and hearts of many through newspapers, articles, performances in schools, libraries and museums. My husband reminded me tho, that it is the encouraging of people I did on a one on one that is probably the most lasting. No one knows about that work. No one knows how my larger work affected individuals. No one but God. So, a reminder to do my work for him, to thebest of my ability, with whatever time I have left here and leave the results, the impact to Him.

Instead of the Wednesday Recipe, Some food for thought

check out this blog in its entirety–

Let this quote whet your appetite on how children should treat other children who are “different”, in this case it is a disability, but it could be anything:

Her kindness toward this child awed me. I would have expected discomfort and reticence in a child her age. But my daughter, just a kindergartener, has already learned a valuable lesson that some won’t ever learn even in a full lifetime. The body is just a shell containing a person with wants and needs like every other. As human beings, our job is then to show an interest in all people and — if necessary — help them to access the same things in life that we all enjoy. That’s a knowledge that will take her far. It’s an understanding that makes me so very proud to be her mother.”


One of the things we fail to teach our children is the power of planning. Thinking about a problem or situation before we jump into action. I just read an article about packing for a trip and the author’s first step was to plan what she needed to take. Bravo! This is one of the good, practical ways we can teach thinking ahead–packing for a trip, making a recipe with Mom and Dad, Christmas list on a budget, how to spend the afternoon.

Perhaps you feel this is simple. It is. Simple but essential.

With a little help from a friend

Reading other blogs and belonging to social media sites like linked in seems to take up a lot of time–then I find pure gold and I realize that these folks are like an extension of my writers’ group–friends who post things to help my writing improve.

Check out this blog (partially reproduced here) about Romance Writing–no matter your genre, much of Jane’s advice applies. Check out her blog as well!

recently did a survey of its readers and found some VERY interesting

Here’s a sample of what she found–for the whole article and to see more of Jane;s great posts go to


2.According to Bowker®
Market Research, Q2 2012, New Books Purchased and RWA’s 2012 Romance Book
Consumer survey, the U.S. romance book buyer is most likely to be between 30
and 54 years of age.

Most of the digital romance readers who took our survey reported being between
40 and 49 years of age. We’ve also seen a significant increase in our over-50
readers, who were responsible for 26.3% of our survey population.

9.Since 2010, we’ve seen a
steady trend toward a decrease in the average retail price of eBooks, from
$4.66 in 2010 down to $4.13 in 2012.

Has the lowering of the price point sparked a significant increase in unit
sales and therefore a reader’s overall spending?.

Not according to our analysis. Although there are certainly exceptions to every
rule, the 11.6% drop in price from 2010 to 2012 didn’t result in an overall
increase. Rather, there has been a resulting 8% decline in terms of revenue and
unit sales per purchase.

Since the number of potential new eBook customers is beginning to shrink and
the number of books a reader can realistically purchase and consume are both
relatively finite-publishers cannot continue to rely on burgeoning unit sales.

In the past year we’ve seen an increase in refund requests for short stories
priced at $2.99 due to customer complaints around poor formatting, insufficient
editing, and inadequate word count. Many of these books were in the 2000 – 5000
word length AND reported as such. We’re also getting more questions from
readers about full-length novels that are priced at $2.99 or lower (excluding
discounts and promotions) indicating they believe the quality to be suspect. In
2013 we believe publishers and self-publishing authors will begin to see
significant backlash from undervaluing quality books and overvaluing short
stories of poor-to-mediocre quality.

10.What are we seeing in terms of best-practice (read
“best-selling") pricing?

*Short Stories: $0.00 – $2.99 per book

*Novellas: $3.00 – $4.99 per book

*Novels: $5.00 – $6.99 per book

*Long Novels: $7.00 – $9.99 per book

1% of sales were of books priced over $9.99.

Eggs, eggs, eggs,

Usually we dig out the egg salad and deviled egg recipes when plannign a party or as a way to use up al the colored Easter eggs. Today, I have eight eggs waiting for me to try three of the many recipes inD’Lish Deviled Eggs by a reknowened chef. I’m reviewing the book for the Sun News, so want to try the recipes and see just how good the chef’s creations are!

Tried three of the recipes and was inspired by her book to make up a recipe of my own!


Join the Party

Usually I post about performing and writing on Friday—this post is late, for a blog hop, but join the party anyway, if you can

Join the Party

There are times in the creative process, when I am putting a book together that I think of it like a party– I’ve invited some folks I’ll call characters and created games for them to play. We call that plot.

Some of the games may seem mean to you readers, but I try not to be too mean, since I do, truly come to love my characters. They are invited guests in my life, I have invited them in. The character traits I give them, well, I have to be able to deal with those for however long it takes me to write the book. For a continuing character, the traits have to be ones I can tolerate over time.

Sometimes the person is modeled on a friend, or a relative. The characters who are less desirable–well, they still have to have some reason for me to have them around long enough to carry through the plot–but then again we do invite some people who are not really good friends when we give a big party–the person in the office who simply has to come because you invited everyone else, the neighbor with the noisy dog, but then again all the neighbors are coming, etc.

How about you? Would you like to be invited to my next party? At present, book two of my Legacy of Honor Series with Desert Breeze Publishing is in production. It should be out in May.

Book One, Giulia Goes to War is for sale for 3.99 on

Giulia is the story of a young woman who leaves her traditional Italian-American family in Western PA to work in the shipyards of Wilmington NC. There she finds adventure and true love–with a young engineer who is NOT Italian. Will her family accept him? Will the German spy trick them into revealing secret information?

The process is much the same for the characters I create for my performance programs. I think about them and craft folks I’d like to invite to my party–which in the case of a performance means they “live” onstage for about forty-five minutes and in my head for as long as it takes to create and learn the program–and whenever I recall that program to mind.

Naming the characters is a dance all its own. Names have to fit the characters and the times.

The third book in my Legacy of Honor Series will deal with Giulia’s daughter and the time and era is the Vietnam Era. The main character, Anna Maria will need friends around her own age (20s) on both sides of the Vietnam War support question. If you would like to come to the party, I’ll name one of the characters after you, first name or first and last name, as you wish. You can choose which side of the issue your character supports. I will choose one person–from the people who “like” my Facebook page Joan Leotta Author and Story Performer!/pages/Joan-Leotta-Author-and-Story-Performer/188479350973

or purchase the book, Giulia Goes to War in the next two weeks.

Leave your email on my page so I can contact you!